Tag Archives: learning

How Fashionable

As I begin to write the a wave of new people disembark from their train journey.
People of all shapes and sizes, ages, social standings & attitude – smiles, frowns, tears and laughter.
Out of this group the thing that interests me most, apart from how each person thinks/feels/is, has to be their attire.
With the exception of a few business woman in suits and workmen in high-vis, everyone else is in gym gear.
None look like they’ve been to the gym yet.
Sure enough some are off to the gym, others may go in lunch, yet it seems gym clothing is now very much standard clothing.
Speaking as someone who lives in gym clothing and has done for many years due to literally living and breathing all things fitness, it’s quite interesting to see.
Business in gym fashion truly has become lucrative.
Just hope over to IG, or any social media platform and you’ll find a whole host of people dropping you discount codes to their affiliations.
You see ladies leggings now that enhance their posterior chain with outstanding effect, truly the 8th wonder of the world.
Same is true for the chaps as well.
Tops cut to enhance a v-taper, give more illusion of broader shoulders, thicker chests and bigger arms.
You can’t help but applaud really.
Then you’ve still got scruff urchins like me in decades old shorts and moth eaten vests, true story.
What you wear in the gym doesn’t really matter so long as you can train productive, yet people really do put a lot of effort into what they wear.
These days the gym floor it’s more a fashion show than a place to progress.
What is it they say, men dress to impress the women, and the women dress impress the other women too 😆
What do you throw on when a session is in your daily plan?

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

This IS the problem.

Losing weight isn’t the hard part.
That comes later.
In the initial stages of a ‘weight loss’ journey.
I dislike that term as it’s really fat loss people are after because if you just wanted to lose weight you could chop off a leg and you’d see a reducing on your scale weight.
Fat loss my friends, that’s what people want.
With that fat loss they also desire to gain lean muscle, what many called ‘toned’.
You can’t have tone without muscle, and you can’t have muscle without accepting you need to get stronger.
Anyway, I’m rambling.
Having your numbers take a downward trend on the scales is very easy, millions of people achieve weight loss every year, consistently too.
Their issue isn’t dropping calories, or finding the diet that works for them, which is one that is plentiful in meat, veg, fruits, you know, not highly processed rubbish bought in a layer pf packets (if you’re an omnivore that is).
Their issue is keeping the weight off and the reason is simple.
Harsh as it sounds a great many people don’t desire long term change and struggle to accept that to live life a certain way, they need to live life a certain way.
Sacrifices will be made.
That one or four bottles of wine you have each night, gone.
Convenience foods, reduces or removed due to the irritation they give your gut, all replaced with wholesome veg and high quality protein sources.
Many will have to address the pink elephant in the room though before they can make any progress with any of the above.
Their mental association with who they are.
You see as a person e’re largely a collection of habits, both known, unknown and even unexpected at times.
These keep is safe, they provide stability, as such our minds switch off (well, not off, they go on auto-pilot) and we simply run through the motions never really give much consideration to a lot of what we do.
Being more mindful is not easy, in fact it’s very draining.
This is due to how much we leave to our habits, now that’s faith if you ask me.
Are you someone who has lost a substantial amount of fat and made progress not only physically but mentally as well?
If so please share your story and more importantly, why you made the change and decides to stick with it.
In the end some change comes from necessity, however most comes from choice.
You should investigate this thoroughly.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

The problem wth classic periodisation.

Typically as intensity increases volume decreases in standard block periodisation.
Example from one of my favourite protocols:
– 6 week peak based on 3x session per week –
– Accumulation days builds to intensification phase/peak days –
– Light days allow for restoration of body while still training the skill of the lift with a decent load –
– Focused on 1 lift –
Day 1 – 6×2 @80%
Day 2 – 6×3 @80%
Day 3 – 6×2 @80%
Day 4 – 6×4 @80%
Day 5 – 6×2 @80%
Day 6 – 6×5 @80%
Day 7 – 6×2 @80%
Day 8 – 6×6 @80%
Day 9 – 6×2 @80%
Day 10 – 5×5 @ 82% -87% (old 1RM)
Day 11 – 6×2 @80%
Day 12 – 4×4 @85%-90% (old 1RM)
Day 13 – 6×2 @80%
Day 14 – 3×3 @ 92%-97% (old 1RM)
Day 15 – 6×2 @80%
Day 16 – 2×2 @100% (old 1RM)
Day 17 – 6×2 @80%
Day 18 – 1×1 @105%+ (New PB)
^^ You can extend block this by doing 2 sessions per week.
A nice linear progression in loading looks good on paper however it leaves some people very unconditioned and susceptible to injury.
That being said, it’s hard to keep up a high level of volume when the intensity is being ramped up to the nines.
Given this dilemma, what are mortals to do?
We can get in volume via other training modalities that don’t interfere/disrupt the accumulation/heavy sessions.
Here is what an example day might look like:
Focus Lift – Squat
W/U – Squat RAMP
A1 – Squat 6×6@80%
B1 – RDL x10,8,6
B2 – Press x10,8,6
B3 – Hamstring Curl x10,8,6
C/D – Stretching problem areas
There is an alternative you can opt for as well:
W/U – 100 reps (4×25) – H/C, Lat Pull down, KB Hack Squat
A1 – Squat 6×6@80%
B1 – Sled Dragging x20m & 5 Pull Ups x10-20min
C/D – Stretching problem areas
The above would mean your heavy (or hard) days are indeed tough, yet done with purpose, then you rest up and on the light day avoid the temptation to do too much more.
On the light days you’d hit your 6×2 from above, then upper body work for volume with loads at 60-80% of current RM’s.
Achieving this tricky balance in training will take some time to master (due to individual volume tolerances, training age etc).
Personally I’ve found that when peaking a lift of training for a specific focus such as strength/power/RFD etc, the volume work does well when it comes from loaded carry style movements and anything that is concentric only.
Essentially movements that put very little stress on the body in an eccentric fashion (helps reduce total CNS fatigue, this will of course accumulate over time and other restoration methods may be needed, along with adequate sleep/nutrition).
So no HIIT, PLyo’s etc, movements that can help you get in to an internal torque state of flow, in which you simply go until you can no longer go (maintain flow/tension).
*Density work, with a good amount of TUT*
**Improving work capacity with timed sets**
***Look up these for more ideas***
Sleds and other such tools are great for conditioning.
Just use submit loads and focus on keeping a certain level of speed.
^^ This is one folly people currently fall to.
They load up the sled way too much and grip it out, while this has a place it makes people slow and reduced their total volume and has them lose baseline conditioning, don’t be one of those people.
No one cares how much you’re pushing/pulling/carrying, only your ego cares, leave it at the door each session.
^^ Doubly true if you’re programming for clients, program what is needed, not what will get nods on IG.
Anyway, that is one option to help people retain and even improve baseline conditioning while following classic linear periodisation.
(The above is not 100% classic block-linear, it’s just a good example)
One key element to remember.
You want to be BUILDING fitness in the gym, not testing it.
While smashing people in to the floor with fancy CF stye WOD’s, all the HIIT and jumping is very very sexy it isn’t always the right thing to be doing.
You should investigate this thoroughly.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

An old joke with an important lesson

“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”
A poignant question with an answer that few would dispute.
The same is true for many things because in essence the only way to get better at something is to practice said something.
Now this doesn’t just mean random practice.
Oh no.
It’s deliberate practice that has focus, purpose and meaning, otherwise you’re just wasting time being busy.
I mean, by all means be busy and do with your time as you choose because it’s your time, however don’t expect anyone to care if you don’t end up going anywhere.
A lot of people waste time, especially these days, the waste time doing things which make them happy instead of things that make them better.
Before they know it they’re no longer happy because everyone and everything else has moved on and they’ve stayed the same.
Such a shame really, yet that was their choice.
Lately I’ve had the pleasure of discussing programming with various different people who are looking to learn more about this Alice like Wonderland of a topic.
One common theme being seen is the frustration from acc individual that they just can’t get it.
Now given how complex the topic can be their frustration is understandable, yet as with anything the only way they will get better is with practice.
That means writing program after program after program.
Using things such as classic block periodisation, undulating, non-linear, concurrent and more.
It’s all exposure that will help in their skill.
The hardest part is asking for feedback on their triumphs, because sadly feedback has a couple of positive and many areas from improvement.
Some take it to heart, which of course they shouldn’t, lacklustre programming doesn’t make them a bad person, it simply means they’ve still got more growing to do, and that is never a bad thing.
While it will sting to hear criticism, you take it on the chin because that’s just what you do if you want to get better.

(Remember this, if people take the time to give you such time/feedback it’s because they care.)

Much like a lot of things in this life, we can only grow through time and we can only get better over that time if we practice.
Not just any old practice though.
Deliberate practice that has focus, purpose and meaning.
You should investigate this thoroughly.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

A little knowledge is dangerous, and a lot will leave you paralysed

Squats & press behind the neck, 2-3days per week.
That was the recommendation of Perry Rader in regards to abbreviated training (from reading Dinosaur Strength Training, by Brooks Kubik).
Just two simple movements.
Coming from a weightlifting bias you can see the logic.
Other people of that era also used to do very little, for example Bob Peoples would put in a lot of time deadlifting (many days per week).
Another chap, who’s name current escapes me, did pull ups everyday, even getting to the point of hammering out 200+ in single sets.
It wasn’t uncommon either for people to pick one lift and specialise in it for several weeks/months until they hit a new personal record with it, then move on to something else.
Being spoilt for choice with our training options, and training information seems to have left many people frustrated and lacking direction.
Even if they are to stumble across something that will work provided they’re consistent in their application of said protocol, many give up within a couple of weeks.
Often drawn in by something flashy and new.
I get it though, the allure of flitting from one thing to the next.
It keeps people interested, yet such an attitude also keeps them in the same place physically, and while some might be happy miring in the mud, it’s nothing more than a waste of time for most of us.
How long do you stick with a training program?
4 weeks or maybe even 12?
You could be one of the few who changes things daily due to getting bored too quickly.
The attitude of ‘something is better than nothing’ has been around for a long time, however that has been born form the modern working world where staff would rathe robe seen as simply being ‘busy’ than being productive.
Middle management with inferiority complexes pounce on staff that have stopped for even the briefest of moments.
Usually spouting some bullshit such as – “I can find something for you to do.”, good old micromanagement.
Well obviously, we can always find something to do however that doesn’t mean it’s productive, and in that case doing something is not better than doing nothing because it will often be done with a half assed attitude.
In fitness the above attitude leads people to treating themselves at night after they’ve successfully ‘done something’.
These are the same people who wonder why nothing ever seems to change and mentally they’re still stuck and unhappy.
A little consistency, dedication and mental toughness to stick with something will go a long way.
Dear readers, or those who’ve made it this far.
Does your training cover these three key elements:
– It is Consistent
– Has Progressive Overload Planned
– Enjoyment
While the first two are crucial, they’re often going to fall by the wayside if the last one isn’t present.
Do share your current training (and current training thoughts/philosophies) below.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Take your own advice.

It’s fair to say that many of us who are embroiled in this life where the training tick has bitten and firmly taken hold, that we all see ourselves are ‘that exception’.

This is referring to the things that we would tell other people, or our would-be clients if we are trainers.

Yielding our hard earned knowledge to others for their betterment is something many are more than willing do.

You’ll find it’s often pretty sound advice too.

If followed then plenty of progress will occur, in every sense of the word, and if the goal of ‘becoming the best version of yourself’ is to be believed then no one with that attitude would want to stay in the same place.

Knowing this though, knowing what we do, we still see ourselves differently.

Take something I’ve been speaking about again recently.

– Train 2-3 days per week with purpose

This really works wonders for people, especially when combined with any of the training protocols/suggestions you’ll find trawling through the archives on here.

Yet in regards to myself, training less and recovering more is something I struggle with massively.

As such methods to force rest, recovery and not going near places to train gets put in place.

Even then that doesn’t always stop me.

Many other people are like this as well.

The say one thing and do another thing entirely because enterally they don’t put themselves in the same bracket as the person they’re giving the advice to.

Talk about ego.

Physiologically humans are not that different.

As such recovery tactics, training modalities, even understanding the fine balance of chemicals in our body that regulate life, mood, feelings and everything else can be (are already) understood to the point that if we apply that knowledge logically and perhaps with the idea of process & elimination, we’d do all right.

Yet, we ourselves struggle to apply our wisdom to the person ho probably needs it most.

Why don’t you listen to your own advice?

Genuine question.

What do you feel has taken you beyond the realm of all the people you connect with that means they should do things in XYZ way, yet you can do it differently because, well, you’re you.

It’s no wonder the general populous is frustrated.

Many go round in circles.

Habits are often the reason, in so much as when people go back to ‘what they know’ (even if it’s never really worked), it shows that they don’t trust in the process or plan/knowledge before them.

Same goes for you.

You don’t listen to your own advice because deep down you don’t really trust it, or perhaps you don’t have enough faith in your own ability, who knows.

When you read on here about ‘looking inwards’, it’s referring to being honest with yourself.

Setting aside pride, vanity and the person you try to portray you are to others and just being alone with yourself.

Often times you know what needs to be done (training wise).

Applying this knowledge, well, that’s the hard part.

You should investigate this thoroughly.


Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

A little spice perhaps?

Take a look around your gym or current place you train.

Now ask yourself, why are you there?

What emotions are driving you to become better than you currently are, if that is intact the case.

After spending one lifetime in the gym, a lot has been seen.

So many failures, stagnations and regressions.

Most people hit their initial goal, they have their first and seemingly last hoorah, only then to spend any further time after they let their starting success slip by trying to get back to ‘where they were’.

A nobel notion, yet it’s still a foolish one.

Speaking from experience, trying to achieve or relive past glories just isn’t wise because everything is different now.

What you did won’t happen in the same way again, you can than the law of accommodation and GAS (general adaptation syndrome) for that.

You see our bodies remember what we did, they adapt and make is so that if we end up doing the sam things again it is less metabolically costly, meaning the results won’t be on the same standard as they were before.

None of this finding what works for you gubbins because what works for you is simply what works RIGHT NOW.

Thing stop working for a reason.

That reason is noted above, you adapted.

While you might really enjoy something if it yields not further result then it’s largely if not entirely a waste of time.

You’d have no hesitation in telling a child that once all their juice is gone from the carton that continue to suckle on it won’t magically produce more juice, same is true for your training, the only difference is that because you’re an adult you seem to have forgotten that the rules of life apply to you.

Another pitfall in doing what we did before, training or nutrition wise, is that we remember how it was and if it’s not up to par we mentally berate ourselves.

This also gives us a reason to fail as well.

Hours then get put into finding all the excuses as to ‘why’ progress can no longer happen, essentially we chase sympathy and pity from others, rather than dragging ourselves forwards out of the mud.

Mud is warm in some cases I suppose, so the appeal is logical.

If the above resonates with you then instead of going back to do what you did before, bin it all off and take another route entirely.

No excuses, no bullshit, just action.

Ask yourself, why am I doing this?

For what reasons emotionally do I want to progress?

Why do I need to be better?

Fond memories of the past should remain as exactly that, memories.

You’re not writing a new chapter because that book is done and now up on a shelf somewhere, it’s time to write a new story instead of repeating and rehashing the same sad old one.

If variety is the spice of life then why not seek change.


Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

One Tool, Multiple Results

Rack-less Progress.
You’ve probably read posts on here before about making progress without the need for anything more than one piece of kit.
Today we shall circle back around to the classic barbell & plates without the use of a rack.
(Could be fixed barbells as well)
In the modern world of programming sessions there are some people that have finally started to come around, or back to, the idea of movements first, muscles second.
The reason being that you’ll find by prioritising movement you cover essentially all of your muscles.
Some isolation/specific accessory work is cool, however for the majority of people it shouldn’t be their entire program.
As for the barbell, we shall be looking at the movement options and then put together ideas so that you can do more with less.
I reckon 2-5 for each section should be enough to get you started.
Okay, here we go.
Movement/Full Body:
– Clean & Jerk (or press/push press)
– Snatch
– Bent Press
– TGU (Turkish Get Up)
– Roll Out (kneeling or standing)
Loaded Carry:
– Zercher
– Farmers Walk (single arm)
– Waiters Walk
– Drag Curl Carry
– Spartan Carry
– Power Clean/Snatch
– Hang Clean/Snatch
– Deadlift (multiple variation, snatch grip, deficit, sumo, etc)
– Good Morning
– Windmill
– Squat (multiple variation, front, zercher, overhead, etc)
– Lunge (multiple variation, side, reverse, curtsy, etc)
– Step Up
– Hill Walk
– CMJ (counter movement jump – advanced only)
– Row (multiple variation, supinated, pronated etc)
– Clean/Snatch High Pull
– Curl (multiple variation, wide, narrow, reverse etc)
– Press (multiple variation, flat, overhead, floor, reverse, etc)
– Tricep Extension (multiple variation, overhead, flat, etc)
As you can see there is a lot of choice, and this is without even going into barbell complexes either.
This is an example three day training week using the movement premise above.
To make this a challenge worth your time you may only use 10-20kg plates when loading the bar or progressing.
Yep, no small plates, this will mean you put more emphasis on how to progress/plan things going forwards.
(You can of course change this based on your goal/needs, it’s not gospel, merely a suggestion)
Day 1 –
A1 – Snatch – 7×2-3
B1 – Floor Press – 4-6×6-8
C1 – Drag Curl Carry – 10min xTotal Distance
Day 2 –
A1 – Clean & Jerk – 7×2-3
B1 – Supinated Bent Over Row – 4-6×6-8
C1 – Waiters Walk – 10min xTotal Distance
Day 3 –
A1 – TGU x5-10 reps per side
B1 – Bent Press x5-10 reps per side
C1 – Hack Squat 5×20
Once you hit the rep goals (7×2-3 = 21 total reps top end), either choose to add load or change the exercise for that movement.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Just one answer there is not.

Do you seek answers or affirmations?
In regards to training there are many answers, ironically people will gloss over the ones that may be most optimal for their given context/situation/needs in favour of the ones they’d rather hear.
This is why you find the average gym goer lack progress.
Often they also champion the mantras of – “Well so long as people are happy, let them do as they please.”
You know, the overly idealistic view that while it might give you the warm & fuzzier feelings it doesn’t help you progress or become better.
Take rep schemes for example.
People dig through the literature from both the scientists and the lifters (imperial/anecdotal), find answers from both that are actually not too dissimilar and then they keep looking.
As a general note these are the collectively agreed upon ones:
Strength/Power: 1-5
Hypertrophy/Metabolic: 6-20
Endurance: 21+
Hey, I didn’t create these, it’s just what works.
Once people get a hold of the above though they think there must, there just must be a special combination for UNLIMITED GAINS.
Nope, there isn’t, sorry.
It sucks however that just is what it is.
4×25 can yield some size, strength and metabolic gains, in beginners and some very unique experienced athletes.
So could 10×10, or 2-3 waves of 20-15-10.
In all honesty the options are many, there is too much choice. It’s easy to see why people just want one answer to cover all the bases.
To be fair though, whatever rep range you spend the most time in will give you a slight bias in regards to the progress/gains you make.
Those who stay in the ❤ range are often pretty strong, and those that have size with it achieve this through a lot of sets, like seriously lots.
The people hitting sets of 15-20 often gain some decent size, a cracking lunge capacity and some good strength as well.
Obviously there will be limitations to staying in just one narrow rep range (unless you have an ultra specific reason to do so).
You will never be powerful using the 15-20 rep range all the time.
Much like you may never develop the metabolic endurance you could never going above 3 reps, that’s just how the body works.
Unless you potentially use complex, contract of conjugate programming methods, however that is another thread to pull on for another time.
Keeping in mind all of the above, this is where periodisation is a great tool.
Having blocks of training where you focus on one specific trait (hypertrophy, strength, power, endurance etc) can be quite useful.
^^ You may still keep multiple elements in blocks, it’s just the main focus that would change.
This means you can still have some max strength work in an endurance block (probably in the form of a 1lift ramp to a 2-4RM each session).
Again there are many many options and nuanced answers.
The biggest thing to understand is this though –
There’s no one perfect answer.
Nothing is set in stone, and even if it was, stones too, can lie.
Anyway, before we go here is a protocol I’ve used on myself and with clients in the past that works well for size, strength and work capacity.
2 week blocks of Acc (accumulation) or Int (intensification).
You’d train 3 days per week on the below, splitting the whole body across these three days for beginners and a divided protocol for stronger people.
Session A – Squat, Pull
Session B – DL, Press (DL variation in Acc, comp style in Int)
Session C – Carries, Press/Pull – Optional
Block 1 – Acc – 4×10
Block 2 – Int – 6×6-8
Block 3 – Acc – 4×10-15
Block 4 – Int – 7×5-7
Block 5 – Acc – 4×15
Block 6 – Int – 8×4-6
Block 7 – Acc – 4×15-20
Block 8 – Int – 9×3-5
Block 9 – Acc – 4×20
Block 10 – Int – 10×2-4
You’ll find this might seem odd on paper however it’s set up for people looking to achieve the classic ‘lean athletic look’ who dislike cardio and conventional training.
Hence why their work capacity and metabolic bits cam from building up to sets of 20, and the strength was above to stay dialled in with the lower rep work.
Stop looking for just one answer my friends because you won’t find it.
Simply take leaf out of Alice’s book and go down a rabbit hole for a spell (at least 6 weeks), you never know what treasures you might find.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Training Diaries 101

A new day has broken through the starlit canvass of night, and I think it’s going to be a good one.

Morning All,

Over the weekend a companion that has been with me for through thick and thin in the gym for the last 3 years has finally retired.

Training diary 13, it’s been a blast, now you can rest and thank you for all the wisdom you’ve shared with me.

A concise record of your gym antics is an essential tool.

Keeping track of the lads lifted, volume totalled, lifts made and missed, can give you vital information in regards to what worked, for how long, what you didn’t focus on enough and the things you need to be doing to progress.

While not everyone keeps a diary, most people these days do track what they’re doing.

Be this in the form of videos, photos, YouTube training complications or IG live, some tracking goes on.

It seems to be fashionable or heroic to say – “I don’t track, I remember it all.”.

Maybe they do, maybe they don’t, however it just sounds like ego to me.

Why think you’ve remember it correctly when you can KNOW you’ve remember it correctly because it’s immortalised in some form of tracking, like that in a training diary.

Many would rather talk a good game than record what actually goes on and have it written in stone.

Then again, stones too, can lie.

So today was a new training protocol.

I’ve opted for a 6 week modified Delorme protocol.

The Classic Delorme: 3x10x50-75-100% 10RM

^ A solid endeavour that really works if you give it a true effort, many will feel it’s not enough work however to me that means they’re not quite putting in a good effort.

^^ If you’d like to do the above yet feel it’s just not enough then still use the loading perimeters (50-75-100% 10RM) and use this rep protocol: 20-15-10.

So how does the version I am dong differ from the above?

Let’s take a look.

The Modified Delorme: 5×5-5-5 (50-75-100% 10RM)

Day 1: 5×5-5-5 (50-75-100% 10RM) – max series (up to 5)

Day 2: Match total successful series on D1 @5×50% 10RM

Day 3: Match Series on D1 @5-5×50-75% 10RM

– Two lift focus – Bench Press & Deadlift
– Up to 1min rest between 5’s, then 3min rest between series
– When 5 series completed with good form on Monday add load

You might be wondering where my other movements are.

Fear not, the Pulling, Squatting & Carries will be in at the end of the session as accessory work following a rep protocol that takes my fancy on the day.

This will keep total time training to a minimum.


Because for my own personal goals I need to break the old mindset of ‘train more’ that is creeping back in, my last training diary highlighted this was beginning to find its way back into my life again.

The above is only 6 weeks.

If I personally can’t stuck to that then what good am I to the world?

Sometimes we need to stay on a path and see the journey through to the end.

Too much hopping about has been apparent in my training.

Time to stop that.

So dear readers, do you have a training diary?

If yes, what has it taught you and if no, why do you feel you don’t need one?

Do share your thoughts below.


Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health